All you need to know about the latest edition of the Gran Turismo 5 competition that turns driving dreams into reality.
What is GT Academy?
Now in its third season, GT Academy is a pan-European competition that unites the worlds of virtual and real-life racing to make the dreams of aspiring race drivers a reality. The competition finds the best Gran Turismo 5 players from participating countries, tests their skills at Race Camp and then trains one winner to become a professional racing driver.
Who can enter?
Full terms and conditions of entry are available on gran-turismo.com and these should be read thoroughly by all entrants. The key points are:
If you make it to the Territory Finals, you will be required to participate in a health screening, and so you must be in good general health in accordance with the Motor Sports Association medical requirements.
Finally, in order to attend Race Camp, which lasts approximately one week, you will need to have a valid passport and be able to travel within the European Union.
What are the various stages in the competition?
Stage One: Once registered on gran-turismo.com, you record laps on a track which is accessed in-game from Gran Turismo 5. You can keep track of your progress by accessing the in-game leaderboard for your territory.
Stage Two: The 20 eligible entrants who hold the fastest online lap times from each European territory group, along with up to four wild card entries, will qualify for their Territory Final event.
Stage Three: Twelve finalists, two from each of the Territory Finals events, will attend the GT Academy Race Camp at the world-famous Silverstone circuit in the United Kingdom where they will be able to develop new driving skills in an array of Nissan cars, while also being judged on fitness and mental attitude.
Stage Four: The overall winner will embark on a UK-based intensive driving and racing programme in preparation to qualify for an international racing licence.
Stage Five: The winner may be able to race in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour International race in a fully supported Nissan 370Z GT4 car.
What are the timings for GT Academy 2011?
The online Time Trial phase starts on 4 March 2011 and continues until 23:59 on 17 April 2011. Territory Finals will follow shortly afterwards with the Race Camp scheduled for June 2011.
What are the technical requirements for entering the GT Academy 2011 Time Trial?
You will need to have a PlayStation 3 system, broadband Internet access and a copy of Gran Turismo 5. The following steps are then required:
How can I work out my ranking position?
You can view your position on the leaderboard as well as the fastest laps either in-game or on the rankings page on the official Gran Turismo website at gran-turismo.com.
Can I pick my own car for the Time Trial event?
The car and the track used for the Time Trial are pre-determined so that it is the same for everyone: the unique track has been developed specifically using the innovative Course Maker feature of Gran Turismo 5 by legendary creator Kazunori Yamauchi and the car is the stunning Nissan 370Z (Z34).
How many times can I enter?
Once you have accessed the Time Trial event, you can complete as many laps as you want and only your best time will be posted to the rankings. If you beat your previous best, your new time will be posted, which may move you up the rankings.
How can I improve my lap times?
The best way to improve is through practice. You can take advantage of the custom race lobbies in Gran Turismo 5, which allow you to practise with friends and other players you meet online, sharing driving tips and techniques via voice chat. Similarly, you can use the in-game community features to communicate and set up times to meet and share tips.
What happens next to the winner of GT Academy?
The winner has to be prepared to make a major commitment to becoming a real racing driver. From the end of the Race Camp event in June 2011, the winner will be based in the UK for approximately seven months in order to undertake an intensive race training programme. He or she will be housed at Silverstone and will be racing in UK national and club level races most weekends.
In January 2012, the winner will fly to Dubai and may race in the Dubai International 24 Hours.
What if I've never raced a real car in my life?
That's not a problem. GT Academy is about finding the best Gran Turismo 5 player and turning him or her into a professional. As outlined in the terms and conditions, people with certain professional racing experience and qualifications are not eligible to participate.
As long as you can drive in Gran Turismo 5, know how to drive a real car and meet the other eligibility requirements, all you have to do is try your best.
Is GT Academy a realistic route into top flight motor sport?
Sony Computer Entertainment and Nissan posed the question "Can the world of virtual racing unearth a real racing talent?" The success of the competition's first two GT Academy winners demonstrated that this answer is a resounding "Yes"
Lucas Ordóñez, the Spanish winner of the first instalment in 2008, went on to finish second in the 2009 European GT4 Cup and fourth in 2010. Frenchman Jordan Tresson, the winner of 2010's GT Academy competition, finished equal fourth with Ordóñez in the GT4 series.
So there you are – everything you need to know about GT Academy 2011. The clock is ticking, so fire up your copy of Gran Turismo 5 and turn your driving dreams into reality – only with PlayStation.
For more tips on how to be the best in GT Academy, check out the Top Tips: GT Academy 2011 article right here on eu.playstation.com or visit the GT Academy Facebook page at facebook.com/GTAcademy for regular posts from some of the fastest racers and GT Academy celebrities.